A collaborative effort among R&D labs to advance the commercialization of printed electronics
By Lou Panico
Properties of metal inks—how they are applied to substrates and their electronic performance once cured—are the focus of intense investigation by many researchers. Several members of the Test Center Network specialize in inks, including Intrinsiq Materials, located in Rochester, New York.
Intrinsiq develops nano-based metallic inks primarily for Printed Electronics (Figure 2). The company offers copper inks, and nickel and silicon inks are in development. Intrinsiq specializes in copper inks with low temperature sintering requirements, with no removal process afterwards, which results in a simple and clean process. They are currently working with product developers to validate processes for applications such as displays and medical instruments.
In addition to inks and photonic sintering, Intrinsiq's laboratory provides several dispensing systems, including inkjet and screen printers, and has expertise with a variety of substrates including paper, PET, and silicon glass.
Sujatha Ramanujan, Ph.D., VP at Intrinsiq, said that the challenge with inks is not only the ink itself, but how it performs within a process for a specific application."Often the technical challenge is not as great as the practical challenge, finding the right combination of materials and sintering energy that will result in the desired performance, at a manufacturing speed that can be commercialized."
Intrinsiq's work in thin film systems is an example of this. Janet Heyen, engineering director, said, "For thin-film systems, we have demonstrated the impact of the thermal characteristics of the curing environment on sintering performance. We have been able to achieve more effective sintering, and as a result, improved product performance, by tuning the properties of the material to the system being cured. This type of system optimization allows developers to achieve functionality at reduced laydowns and lower cost."
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